Tuesday, October 23, 2012


I'm studying for the GRE lately, and it's stressful. Not only do I have to muster the discipline to sit down with my study book, not only will this determine whether or not I can go to grad school in the near future, not only do I take it in less than two weeks....

...But I also have to do math.

Math has never been my strong point. I've never loved it or had any real curiosity about why it worked the way my teacher explained. The extent of my math skills were to memorize the steps to a process and actually get the requested result, given enough practice.

And there's the clincher. With my last math class being 5 years ago, I am definitively out of practice, and yet must demonstrate enough quantitative reasoning that they won't throw away my grad school app at a single glance. True, my field isn't really dependent on critical thinking in the context of numbers, but I have to at least prove I'm not a moron.

That felt like exactly what I was proving this morning. Actively fighting tears, I lamented, "I just hate the idea that we spent $170 on a test just for them to tell me that I'm bad at math and I can't go to grad school anyway."

Against every "how do I fix this??" instinct of his male, scientific brain, Chris just frowned. "Can I give you a hug?"

It got so much better from there. We decided that these questions are more like logic puzzles than math problems, and then Chris got to have fun with it too. "Now, can we try something? I want you to apply the dimensional analysis we just learned--"

"The thing with the units?"

"Yes, the thing with the units. Apply that to this problem here."

"Okay. Hmm...oh, uh-huh. So...um. Mkay. Like that?"

"Yep! Congratulations, you just derived the Ideal Gas Law. It's something like what I have to do on my math."

"Cool! I did engineering! ...Chris, is that attractive?"

"You have no idea."

I decided this math stuff isn't so bad after all.